Mississippi breezes past Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Marshall Henderson scored a career-high 32 points Wednesday night as Mississippi defeated Tennessee 92-74 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams, giving the Rebels their first road victory over the Volunteers in 22 years.
Mississippi (12-2) had lost 11 straight times to Tennessee in Knoxville since a 93-88 triumph on Feb. 27, 1991.
Jarvis Summers scored 16 points and Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner each had double-doubles for the Rebels, who have won four straight games. Holloway had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Buckner scored 13 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
Jordan McRae scored 26 points to match his career high for Tennessee (8-5), which closed a six-game home stand with its second consecutive loss. McRae also had 26 points Friday in an 85-80 loss to Memphis. Jarnell Stokes added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
This game shaped up as a confrontation between Mississippi's high-powered scoring attack and Tennessee's tenacious defense. Mississippi headed into conference play leading the SEC with 83.1 points per game, which ranked the Rebels fifth nationally in scoring offense. Tennessee was yielding 58.8 points per game to rank second in the league in scoring defense.
It turned into a mismatch.
Mississippi exceeded its season scoring average by continually getting to the free-throw line, Tennessee's usual path to victory.
Tennessee headed into Thursday having attempted 71 more free throws than its opponents this season, but Mississippi went 38 of 44 on free throws while the Vols were 17 of 26. Tennessee starters Kenny Hall and Trae Golden both fouled out.
That free-throw disparity helped Mississippi grab a 38-30 halftime lead. The Rebels were 12 of 14 and Tennessee 2 of 3 from the line in the first half.
That free-throw differential proved critical because neither team was connecting from long range. Tennessee missed its first eight 3-point attempts and ended up 4 of 15 from beyond the arc in the first half. Mississippi misfired on its first 10 3-pointers and finished 7 of 26.
Ole Miss built a double-digit lead in the second half by again drawing frequent fouls.
After scoring just three points in the first half, Summers scored eight points in the first four minutes of the second half by driving to the basket. Ole Miss already was in the bonus with over 14 minutes left in the game.
This marked the third straight time Tennessee faced a double-digit deficit in the second half.
The Vols rallied to beat Xavier 51-47 after trailing by 10 with 17:56 remaining. They erased most of a 21-point margin Friday before falling to Memphis. This time, the Vols never mounted much of a comeback.
Tennessee cut the lead to five early in the second half, but the Vols wouldn't get any closer. Henderson, who entered the night leading the SEC with 18.2 points per game, heated up midway through the second half and helped the Rebels put the game out of reach.